March 26 in Yankee History

  • It’s a good day to feature Mickey Mantle, who on March 26, 1951, hit a homer estimated to have traveled between 654 and 660 feet in an exhibition game at USC. “Good fences make good neighbors,” the poet Robert Frost wrote. We feature fence-buster extraordinaire The Mick for his homer on March 26, and the poet, who was born this day in 1874. Continue reading
  • March 25 in Yankee History

  • When after the 2003 season Aaron Boone blew out his knee playing basketball, leaving the Yankees without any promising options at third base, their first move was to make a February 4 trade with the Rangers for Mike Lamb. Lamb was prepared to fight for the third-base job with free agent Tyler Houston, but twelve days later, the Yanks swooped in and claimed the prize the Red Sox had failed to get, pulling off a deal with Texas that brought Alex Rodriguez to New York for Alfonso Soriano. Before the trade, the Yanks had made sure that Rodriguez was amenable to a shift from short to third, thereby eliminating their need for Lamb. On March 25, 2004, Lamb found himself on the move again after the Yanks traded him, sending him to the Astros for minor league righthander Juan DeLeon. Continue reading
  • March 24 in Yankee History

  • We could call today’s rundown The Great Escape in honor of what is the late iconic movie star Steve McQueen‘s birthday, as it was on this day that any semblance of a battle for the starting Yankee shortstop job in 1996 came to an end when Tony Fernandez fractured his right elbow in a game with the Astros. Tony was a veteran on the ’95 playoff team, and until recently was the most recent Yankee to have hit for the cycle, but he was never accepted in New York as he was in Toronto, for whom he played four separate times in his career. Given the unexpected opportunity to start on the rookie-phobic Yankee team, Derek Jeter began a magical year at short by homering in Jacobs Field in his first regular-season game in Cleveland. He won the Rookie of the Year Award, and the Yanks won the Series. The rest, as they say, is history. Continue reading
  • March 23 in Yankee History

  • On March 23, 1972, the Yankees agreed in principle to continue playing ball in the Bronx. Later that year on August 8, they put it in writing by signing a 30-year lease contingent on a modernization to be completed in time for the 1976 season. Old-time Yankee fans point to this renovation as the true end of the original ballpark, though most of us point to the final game in September 2008. Continue reading
  • March 22 in Yankee History

  • The lead March 22 story for Yankee fans is the 1972 trade of Danny Cater and Mario Guerrero to the Red Sox for Al “Sparky” Lyle. Not only would Sparky post a 57-40 record with 141 saves in six years for the Yanks, he played on three World Series teams (two wins) and won an American League Cy Young Award. Lyle was a famous prankster, and the Stadium actually used to play Pomp and Circumstance (think High School Graduation) when he came to the mound in search of a save. The manager of the Somerset (N.J.) Patriots in the independent Atlantic League for years, Lyle still has an association with the team. Cater, meanwhile, notched 14 homers and 83 rbi’s in three years for the Red Sox, resulting in a far from even swap. Continue reading
  • March 21 in Yankee History

  • The early career of Yankee star Joe DiMaggio took off when he attended Spring Training with the Yanks in 1936, and by the end of an 11-2 thrashing of the Boston Bees on March 21, he had stroked 12 hits in his first 20 at bats. But this is not a great day in Yankee history, and a post-game slip-up stopped the man who was to become “Joltin’ Joe” in his tracks. Joe’s foot was burned in an unattended diathermy machine, and his regular-season debut would have to be delayed until after he recovered in May. Continue reading
  • March 20 in Yankee History

  • On March 20, 1958, the Phillies attempted to trade for first baseman and outfielder Joe Collins from the Yankees, but Joe opted to retire rather than report. A lefty like Don Mattingly who both threw and batted that way, Joe appeared in seven World Series in his Yankee career; the Yanks won five of them. He played for the Yanks exclusively, for whom he slugged 86 round-trippers with 329 rbi’s and 27 steals from 1948-1957. Continue reading
  • March 19 in Yankee History

  • With Phil Nevin lost for the season with a dislocated shoulder, Padres general manager Kevin Towers was looking for outfielder help, and the Yanks were looking to unload a lot of unproductive salary. Part One of Brian Cashman‘s three-part plan (neither Raul Mondesi nor Sterling Hitchcock would finish the season in the Bronx either) dovetailed with Towers’s outfield shortage as Rondell White was shipped from New York to San Diego in exchange for outfielder Bubba Trammell and lefthander Mark Phillips on March 19, 2003. Continue reading
  • March 18 in Yankee History

  • Peter Ueberroth perhaps failed to deliver as Commissioner of Baseball, despite the fact that there were some high hopes after his stirring success with the LA Olympics. But he ranks above Bud Selig, in my opinion, simply because he had the wisdom to reinstate Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays into baseball’s good graces on March 18, 1985. Bowie Kuhn had banned them both for making a living by accepting casino money to serve in public relations. Can you imagine having two ex-players the stature of Mays and Mantle and presuming to tell them they could have no connection to the game? Incredible. Continue reading
  • March 17 in Yankee History

  • Happy St. Patty’s Day. I like to think that down deep inside, we’re ALL Irish, and all Yankee fans, from Babe Ruth rooters, to fans of the Captain, Derek Jeter.
  • On March 17, 1988, I and a friend had a unique (and unfortunate for the Yanks) Spring Training experience. We enjoyed the North Miami vibe on the one hand with a delightful breakfast featuring Cuban coffee in a local deli, and survived its dark side as we had to drive around a crack bust to arrive at Bobby Maduro Stadium. Then we watched newly acquired Yankee Jack Clark tear a tendon in his calf in his first Yankee at bat while hitting a home run in his first spring training game of the year, against the Orioles. Clark, who stumbled on the first base bag admiring his long drive, would miss Opening Day and have an injury-filled, disappointing Yankee season. Continue reading